Study: Payday lenders fill GOP coffers

Study: Payday lenders fill GOP coffers
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Payday lenders contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to nearly a dozen House Republicans over the last four years, according to the report from Allied Progress, a government accountability organization run by Democratic strategist Karl Frisch. 

The campaign contributions coincided with votes taken by many of these Republicans that benefited the payday lending industry, the report contends.

“This industry wields tremendous power not only over those it is able to ensnare with its risky financial products, but also over the levers of power in Washington,” Frisch said in a statement.

Payday lenders are under pressure from regulators who accuse them of taking advantage of low-income families. They provide high interest, short-term loans to consumers who don’t qualify for loans from banks. Unable to repay the loans in time, many borrowers fall into cycles of debt, critics say. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is looking to crack down on the industry, but some Republicans have tried to block those efforts. They argue that payday lenders provide much-needed cash to struggling families who can’t find loans elsewhere. This money is often used to pay bills, they say.

The report contends that certain Republicans who voted to protect payday lenders received significant campaign contributions from the industry, though it does not allege any violation of the law or campaign finance rules.

Among lawmakers receiving the contributions included House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and former committee Chairman Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusTrump bank nominee gets rough reception at confirmation hearing Overnight Finance: Breaking - GOP delays release of tax bill | Changes to 401(k)s, state and local taxes hold up bill | Trump aims to sign tax legislation by Christmas | Hensarling to retire after term | Trump to repeal arbitration rule Senators, don't put Ex-Im Bank's fossil fuel financing back in business MORE (R-Ala.). 

The House Financial Services Committee oversees payday lenders.